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EU Commission proposes abolishing duties on Ukrainian goods by 2024 and imposing restrictions

EU Commission proposes abolishing duties on Ukrainian goods by 2024 and imposing restrictions Photo: The European Commission proposes to abolish duties on goods from Ukraine by 2024 (flick com libereurope)
Author: Liliana Oleniak

The European Commission has officially proposed to extend the abolition of import duties for agricultural goods from Ukraine until 2024. But at the same time, import restrictions were proposed, according to The Guardian.

The European Commission is proposing to extend Ukraine's preferential trade terms, including the suspension of import duties and quotas for another year. This is aimed at supporting Ukraine's economy in times of war.

At the same time, the European Commission has included in its proposal a so-called "fuse" for EU farmers to suppress protests in France and other EU member states.

According to the EC's statement, four types of products from Ukraine (poultry, eggs, and sugar) will be subject to an "emergency braking" mechanism to stabilize imports at the level of average volumes in 2022-2023. This implies that in case of exceeding import volumes, import tariffs will be applied.

The agency notes that on Wednesday, January 31, French and Belgian farmers set up dozens of blockades on highways and access roads to a major container port to force governments to ease environmental regulations and help protect them from rising prices and cheap imports.

What it means for Ukraine

The Ukrainian Prime Minister Denys Shmyhal notes that the European Commission has proposed to extend the "economic visa-free regime" until June 2025.

As the Prime Minister explains, this means that Ukrainian entrepreneurs will be able to continue exporting their products to European markets without quotas, duties, and tariffs, and it also provides additional opportunities for Ukrainian businesses and strengthens the resilience of the economy.

"We should also note the European Commission's position on clearer tools to control the circulation of goods in a way that avoids any potential conflicts in agricultural markets. This will allow for a more harmonious integration of Ukrainian agriculture into the EU," the Prime Minister adds.

Shmyhal also hopes that it will be possible to remove unilateral bans on imports of Ukrainian agricultural products by Poland, Slovakia, and Hungary.

The proposal will then be considered by the EU Council.

What preceded it

As a reminder, the preferential trade regime with the EU was introduced after Russia invaded Ukraine, and it came into effect on June 4, 2022. It was then extended for a year.

In 2023, the European Commission imposed restrictions on imports of certain agricultural products from Ukraine for neighboring EU countries. In January 2024, Poland asked the European Commission to restore tariff quotas for some Ukrainian products but was denied.

Bulgaria, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, and Hungary are again demanding that the European Commission impose import duties on Ukrainian grain due to alleged unfair competition.